Thunder: This is actually the sound generated by lightning. It travels through the atmosphere at a rate of about one mile very 5 seconds.
If you want to determine how far away the lightning is, count the number of seconds between the flash and the thunder and then divide that total by 5. That number represents the miles.
In most cases thunder cannot be heard if the lightning is more than 15 miles away.
Thunderstorm: The defining characteristics of a thunderstorm are lightning and thunder. In many, but not all cases, rain, hail and high winds will accompany the thunder and lightning
Tornado: A tornado extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground in a violent rotation of air. The air turns upward in a spiral with top recorded speeds of 318 m.p.h.
Tornadoes are rated by air speed: F0 has winds of 40-72 m.p.h.; F1 has winds of 73-112 m.p.h.; F2 has winds of 113-157 m.p.h.; F3 has winds of 158-206 m.p.h.;F4 has winds of 207-260 m.p.h. and; F5 has winds of 261-318 m.p.h.
Only about 2% of the more than one thousand tornadoes in the U.S. each year are F4 or higher.
Lightning: Visible form of electrical discharge produced during a thunderstorm. A bolt of lightning can heat the air it travels through up to 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The State of Florida has the most lightning strikes in the United States, with about 1.4 million strikes per year. This is equal to about 25 ground strikes per square mile each year.
For a yet to be explained reason, males account for 84% of lightning fatalities and 82% of lightning injuries in the U.S.
Lightning strikes: 75% of lightning bolts do not touch ground, but rather strike within a cloud, from cloud to cloud or from cloud to air. Each bolt is considered a strike.
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